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Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

148. Roy Butler

IF the learned Supreme Court of Illinois

Got at the secret of every case

As well as it does a case of rape

It would be the greatest court in the world.

A jury, of neighbors mostly, with “Butch” Weldy

As foreman, found me guilty in ten minutes

And two ballots on a case like this:

Richard Bandle and I had trouble over a fence,

And my wife and Mrs. Bandle quarreled

As to whether Ipava was a finer town than Table Grove.

I awoke one morning with the love of God

Brimming over my heart, so I went to see Richard

To settle the fence in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

I knocked on the door, and his wife opened;

She smiled and asked me in; I entered—

She slammed the door and began to scream,

“Take your hands off, you low down varlet!”

Just then her husband entered.

I waved my hands, choked up with words.

He went for his gun, and I ran out.

But neither the Supreme Court nor my wife

Believed a word she said.